Many organizations offer a mix of benefits to employees that go beyond health coverage. Some are pretty standard, such as a 401(k) and others may be outside the box, such as an allowance for gym memberships.
Typically employees will be allowed to opt into these programs upon hire and during an open enrollment period that usually takes place toward the end of the company’s fiscal year.
But since employers must always watch their bottom line, they may not make it very easy to take full advantage of available benefits. Following are 10 employee benefits you may be missing out on.
1. 401(K) Company Match
On average, 90% of eligible employees enroll in any available retirement savings program, but many aren’t using theirs to its best advantage.
Afraid of losing too much of their paychecks, these employees aren’t investing enough to meet the minimum investment at which their company will match it.
It is well worth meeting the minimum investment because the amount your company throws on top of it is free money, and studies show that millions of people are not saving enough to support them during retirement.
2. Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
An Employee Assistance Program is a catch-all term for access to various support services when employees experience hardship in life. Many companies offer a certain amount of mental health counseling, for example, or financial advice.
Even issues with family, such as addiction, marital problems, or time management, may be covered because a calm and well-regulated employee is much more effective at work.
Services are typically initiated through a phone call or access to an online portal.
3. Employee Stock Purchase Program (ESPP)
If your company is growing, you can invest in it via an ESPP. Employers who trade publically will often allow employees to purchase a certain amount of stock at a discounted rate.
What’s more, the purchase can often be done through a payroll deduction and you should be allowed to sell your stock at any time.
Though the stock market is a volatile thing, as an employee of your company, you are in a good position to understand the strength and value of its stock.
4. Spending Accounts
If your company offers either a Healthcare Spending Account or a Flexible Spending Account, this is a good way to put aside some pre-tax dollars for family-related expenses.
Basically, you designate a certain amount to be withheld from your paycheck, and are later reimbursed when you make a qualifying purchase. This includes things like healthcare, childcare, medications and more.
HSAs and FSAs can help manage the burden of skyrocketing medical costs.
5. Education and Tuition Reimbursement
When you gain new professional skills there is value for your employer in that and your company may be willing to help you achieve it.
Ask your HR department about any Education or Tuition Reimbursement programs if you hope to gain a new qualification or credential. You may be able to have a portion of your tuition paid upfront or reimbursed when you submit a claim.
6. Company Discounts
It’s pretty standard procedure for employees of retail outfits to receive a discount on merchandise. But many service providers offer this perk as well. Y
ou could also be eligible for discounts with businesses your company has partnered with for any reason. That might include wireless service, lower loan or mortgage rates, technology such as laptops and wireless routers, and travel-related expenses like airfare, hotels, and car rentals.
7. Wellness Program
Employers have a vested interest in keeping their employees as healthy as possible, and to that end may offer a selection of wellness programs.
This could include a lower health insurance premium in exchange for completing a health risk assessment. Others offer financial rewards for completing certain healthy tasks such as running a 5K, getting your flu shot, or achieving a reduction in blood pressure or cholesterol levels.
If you are a smoker, ask about smoking cessation support, and if you would like to drop a few pounds, about a weight loss program.
8. Commuter Perks
For many employees, the commute is the worst part of their day. It can also be expensive in terms of wear and tear on your vehicle, gas, tolls, and parking fees. Public transportation has its own hassles and expenses.
It’s worth it to check if your company can offer some support to offset the cost of commuting. And depending on your position, it may also be possible to skip the commute entirely sometimes by negotiating a certain number of work-at-home days.
9. Matching Charitable Donations
Charitable donations are a PR boon for companies, so many have an established giving program.
Employees may have more say in this than they realize. If you have an issue that you are passionate about, ask if your company would be willing to match your level of giving.
10. Supplemental Insurance
Health insurance is pretty standard for full time employees, and flexible spending accounts are also common. But did you know your company might also offer other kinds of insurance, including disability?
This kind of insurance can protect you in the case of accident or disability by paying you a portion of your salary while you recover. Short-term disability is often used to cover women during their maternity leave as well.
It is the job of your company’s HR department to make you fully aware of all the benefits you could access as an employee, but don’t rely on yours to do this.
Be sure to ask about all of these potential benefits, including key details such as enrollment periods, conditions, and employee responsibilities in order to qualify.
In an ideal employment situation, your salary will comprise just 70% of the overall compensation given to you as a valued employee. Studies show that this balance keeps workers happier and more loyal to their employers, which is a win-win situation.